Judge faces prison for lying in Chris Huhne case

A DISGRACED barrister and part-time judge was facing jail last night after being found guilty of lying to police investigating the Chris Huhne speeding points case.

Constance Briscoe could now be barred from sitting as a judge after being found guilty of all charges. Picture: Getty
Constance Briscoe could now be barred from sitting as a judge after being found guilty of all charges. Picture: Getty

Constance Briscoe was accused of trying to pervert the course of justice in connection with the investigation into how disgraced Cabinet minister Huhne passed speeding points to his then-wife Vicky Pryce a decade ago.

Briscoe, 56, of Clapham, south London, has been suspended since her arrest in 2012 and could now be barred from sitting as a judge.

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Following her conviction, it emerged she is also facing a criminal investigation into allegations that she fraudulently obtained medical documents used to defend libel claims brought against her by her mother, 
Carmen Briscoe-Mitchell, who sat in the court throughout her daughter’s Old Bailey trial.

Her mother unsuccessfully attempted to sue over claims of childhood cruelty made in Briscoe’s 2006 memoir, Ugly.

The jury found Briscoe guilty of all three counts of intending to pervert the course of justice after five hours of deliberation.

Adjourning sentencing, judge Mr Justice Baker warned her: “It’s almost inevitable there will be a custodial sentence.”

After the verdict, Huhne, who was forced to resign over the speeding points, released a statement in which he described Briscoe as a “compulsive and self-publicising fantasist”.

She had helped his aggrieved former wife Pryce leak stories about his speeding-points swap.

Huhne declared: “British justice is likely to be a lot fairer with Briscoe behind bars.

“If I had not forced the disclosure that was then used to convict Briscoe, she would never have been brought to justice.”

Detective Inspector John McDermott, of Kent Police, welcomed the verdict, saying it showed no-one was “above the law”.

He said: “In her roles as a recorder judge and as a barrister, if anyone should understand the importance of preserving public justice, it should be Constance Briscoe. Today shows that no-one is above the law and perverting the course of justice is a serious offence.”

The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office said it would be preparing a report on whether Briscoe should be removed from the judiciary. A spokesman said: “The report will then be submitted to the Lord Chief Justice and Lord Chancellor for their consideration.”

Briscoe was unanimously found guilty on all charges. The first alleged that, between 2011 and 2012, Briscoe provided police with two inaccurate statements; and the second charge stated she produced an altered copy of a statement but claimed it was the correct version.

A third charge alleged that between 2012 and last year, she deliberately got a document expert to view the wrong version of her witness statement.

Jurors were told that Briscoe helped economist Pryce, who was a friend and neighbour, to reveal information about Huhne’s points swapping to newspapers, after the couple split in 2010.

The scandal led to Huhne’s resignation and subsequent prosecution.

He pleaded guilty in February last year, while Pryce was convicted after a trial. Both have now served jail sentences.

Briscoe remained on bail until her sentencing scheduled at the Old Bailey from 10am today.